Monday, March 7, 2011

Michael's Southshore

The other night I wanted somewhere new to go with the kids, and stumbled upon the menu for Michael's Southshore in Geist.  They had a nice looking kids menu, and a somewhat interesting regular menu, so we decided to give it a try.

As we walked in, I thought the atmosphere of the place was nice for what was obviously a family friendly restaurant (there is a bar side though if you prefer not to sit around kids). There is a fireplace in the middle of the restaurant, between the bar and the dining room, and we had made a reservation, so we got a table near it which was pretty, but the table for 4 was quite small and difficult to maneuver with every seat full.  My kids loved the dry erase boards they were given to draw on (why do kids love dry erase boards so much?) and I was pleased that they were kept occupied while we figured out what to order.

We started with an order of the homemade potato chips with gorgonzola, pancetta and tomatoes ($7).  Sounded good.  The chips were pretty good--your classic restaurant made potato chips that are slightly thicker and chewier than the kind you get in a bag and were sprinkled with very fine crumbles of the blue cheese, even finer (and sparser) bits of pancetta, and the diced tomatoes and some scallions.  The chips themselves tasted pretty good, but the whole thing would have been well served from being heated up a little bit.  The blue cheese was cold and not melted at all.  Maybe this was what they intended, but I think warm and a little melty would be better.  The pancetta was not noticeable at all among the other flavors, mainly, because like I said, there wasn't a lot of it and it was a very fine crumble.  I liked the addition of the tomatoes to give the whole thing a bit of acid.  It has the potential to be a good starter, but as presented, was a little lackluster.

The adult entrees came with salads, and hubby got the Caesar and I upgraded (for $3) to their version of a wedge.  Hubby's Caesar was bad.  Well, it was lettuce. There was really no dressing to be seen (well maybe a tiny bit in a stripe under the lettuce).  Ok, I know I am sort of weird about salads being tossed, but a Caesar HAS to be tossed with the dressing. That is just how it is done.  My salad was a small wedge of iceberg with candied pecans, tomatoes, bacon, and a creamy buttermilk feta dressing.  I liked that it was slightly different from the usual blue cheese wedge, which I get somewhat tired of seeing on menus, and the dressing was nice--a little bit of tanginess coming from the buttermilk and the feta was a nice complement to the sweet pecans and salty bacon (which was thankfully larger pieces than on the chips).  The salad was much smaller than most wedges I have seen though, which was great for me because I don't generally like to eat half a head of lettuce with my dinner, but for an extra $3, I thought it was a little pricey given the size.

For my main, I had the skirt steak with roasted garlic Boursin mashed potatoes, chimichurri sauce, and crispy chili spiced fried onions ($21).  When done well, I really like skirt steak, and this one was cooked very well.  It was presented interestingly also, rolled up and standing like a tower in the mashed potatoes.  The meat was well seasoned and exceptionally tender.  It was by far the best thing we ate all night, and everyone at the table shared my steak.  My kids loved it.  If we went back, I think they would get this and split it.  There wasn't a ton of the potatoes, but they had a little of the Boursin taste (think herbed cream cheese), but not a lot.  The onions were little thinly sliced fried onion rings, with more seasoning than most.  They were also quite good, and clearly seemed homemade.  I honestly didn't get to eat a lot of them though, as my kids (and husband) grabbed them off my plate pretty quick.  The only letdown for this dish for me was the chimichurri sauce.  Chimichurri sauce is made with parsley and garlic, vinegar and oil.  There can be variations, but this is the basic recipe.  This version tasted muddy though, like the sauce had been frozen and re-heated.  It didn't have a fresh herby flavor.  But even without the sauce, the dish was quite good.

Hubby had the rigatoni pasta bolognese. ($15) The meat was veal, pork and beef and was in a red sauce.  All in all, an okay dish, but didn't really taste like something you couldn't fairly easily make at home (although this is why I rarely order a dish like this).

My kids both had the grilled cheese pizza ($5) (my son is in that stage where he wants the same thing his big sister is getting).  I did not care for the pizza at all.  The crust was slightly grilled on the bottom but tasted totally flat and a little cardboard-y.  The kids said it was ok, but preferred my steak.  They did end up eating most of it though.  They also got fries on the side which suffered from being soggy--not sure if they weren't cooked long enough or if the oil wasn't hot enough, but even the kids wouldn't eat them.

This is a place that I can see a need for in Geist--it is a midrange, family friendly, independent restaurant serving quite a wide variety of food.  It reminded me a lot of George's or Binkley's if you are familiar with either of those places.  Honestly, my main dish tasted quite good, but everything else left me a little disappointed.  If I lived in Geist, I can see repeating a visit (and pretty sure everyone in my family would be getting the skirt steak), but for a 15-20 minute drive? Not so sure.

Michael's Southshore
11705 Fox Road
Indy 46236
317/723-3808
http://www.michaelssouthshore.com/

Michael's Southshore Restaurant on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. happy to see a review! This isn't too far from home and there have been a number of failed attempts in this exact location... looking over the menu, there are a few items that are probably in our budget (the $20+ mains being a bit hard to swing). At the very least I'm always willing to be a good Hoosier and give someone's breaded pork tenderloin a try.

    Cheers
    -Tom

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  2. We went there 7/7/11 and thought it was quite good. Crabcakes and the Tilapia; both were well prepared altho the risotto made both entrees seem a bit heavy. Salads were good as was the dessert. Yes, not the most convenient location but worth the trip.

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